Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Once again, I have to apologize at the start of a post for how long it's been since I've written anything. I'm not really good at or accustomed to this whole blog writing thing, so I forget that I'm supposed to be doing it sometimes (or I just can't be bothered to). Anyway, here is a long overdue post about my trip to Shanghai during our week long break. 

We only spent five days in Shanghai and therefore didn't get to see all that much. We also didn't plan anything more than a couple of hours in advance (we purchased our hostel rooms online Friday afternoon and our plane tickets the day before that). I'm usually someone who likes to prepare for things, but it wound up being really nice to be able to be spontaneous with two friends in a big city like Shanghai. We spent a lot of time just walking around the city and getting the feel of it. 

On Saturday, we made our way to the main area of the city and went to a park called People's Square. It was not a very nice day as far as the weather went, but the park was really pretty and peaceful.

It was really cool to see the tall buildings looming over the trees.

My lovely travel companions Maeve and Cedric.

Myself and my (fake) gay French boyfriend, Cedric.

We happened upon a man playing the traditional Chinese guzhen in the park.

And of course, a Starbucks.

A couple taking wedding pictures in the street.

I was amused by the fact that they had Pocky in the vending machines.

In China, and even more so in Shanghai, they have McDonald's ice cream windows. It's basically drive through for pedestrians, but they only serve ice cream. Some of them were attached to actual McDonald's stores, but this one wasn't. Cedric had a hard time stopping himself from getting ice cream every time we passed one.

He's quite adorable (and unfortunately, back in France already).

I believe this was a museum with a really cool statue outside of it. We had just gone shopping in an underground market underneath it.

The weather was pretty terrible 4/5 of the days we were there.
 We also joined Australian friends Katie and Sean who also came to Shanghai and went together to Suzhou. Suzhou is often called one of the most beautiful cities in China and it is only a half hour train ride outside of Shanghai.
Mao's predecessor 周恩来 (Zhou Enlai) on the front of a train.

This was a touristy (but also historical) street in Suzhou.

Katie in the back of a rickshaw. There were three of us in it. The driver told the two boys to go together in the other one because they were the 'heaviest,' though I think we were all heavier than Cedric.

We stopped for an afternoon snack (meal) in a bakery which had this interesting cake for sale.

In Suzhou, even the bus stops are pretty.

Back in Shanghai

The Chinese said 巧克力世界 which means chocolate world.

We went to the Shanghai museum with a half Japanese half Hong Kongese boy we had met the previous night.

This guy's super attractive.

Buddha with a (reversed) swastika on it's chest. I hate that it is no longer, and will never be a symbol of peace like it once was.


Cedric posing like the statue.

Yes, he's stepping on a baby.

Clothing of Chinese ethnic minorities (there are 56).

This was the first day with clear skies of the whole trip. It was lovely.

The famous Shanghai skyline at The Bund

I was doing terribly at taking clear photos, but this one at least looks cool.

Overall it was an extremely enjoyable and relaxing vacation. We found an amazing hostel thanks to the recommendation of two German friends who had stayed there before. It was 45 yuan for each of us per night which amounts to about 6 USD. What we had paid for was a mixed dormitory. What we didn't expect was that the dormitory only had four beds and that we wound up being the only three people in the room. For 6 USD a night, we had a clean, decent sized room for the three of us. They also had a free breakfast every morning! The hostel was a bit out of the way of the main city center, but it wound up being extremely preferable. We were able to see a calmer side of Shanghai, including a traditional Chinese market street right behind our hostel that sold a whole variety of live animals for food (I forgot to bring my camera for that part). We were also five minutes away from the nearest subway stop. I was shocked at how nice the Shanghai subway was. It was clean and efficient, unlike in New York.

While I would definitely love to go back to Shanghai on vacation, I don't think I would want to live there. What I like so much about Qingdao is that it is not too huge, but also not too small. I think I would be a bit overwhelmed in Shanghai. Also, I've grown accustomed to the fact that in Qingdao as a 外国人 (foreigner) I get a lot of attention. In Shanghai, there were foreigners everywhere! I prefer being somewhat unique, or at least unexpected. Also, I think because of the size difference, people in Qingdao are a bit more friendly.

Anyway, when we got back to Qingdao on Wednesday evening, I was happy to be home. We still had half of our break left and it was nice to go back and relax a bit. I saw some Chinese friends and slept a lot.

Also, I just realized that I am meeting Chris Coggins (my professor) in Hong Kong three weeks from today to start our research. AHHHHHHH! While I'm really excited for our month of research, I'm already dreading leaving Qingdao. I've loved it here so much and I have so many great friends from all over the world who I'm not sure when I'll ever see again.

Okay, so I hope this long post will somewhat make up for my negligence over the past few weeks. Once again, I'm sorry. I know my mother has been reminding me frequently that my "blog reading public," whoever that includes, has been growing restless as of late. I'll try to be better, but as my time here is winding down, I don't think I can make any promises.

Ciao for now (I have several Italian friends).

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